One of the Italian food par excellence is the mozzarella di bufala (buffalo milk mozzarella), which has become a must have for tourists who love eating well and, above all, healthy. This food still hides a little mystery about the arrival of buffaloes in Italy. There are many hypotheses about it. Some say that the Indian buffalo came to Italy with the Langobard invaders; some, on the other hand, state that they were brought to Sicily by the Arabs and, from there, they spread throughout the continent thanks to the Normans, who were invaders as well. However, recent archeological discoveries – fossils found in the countryside around Rome and in Tuscany, as well as in the island of Pianosa – tend to give buffaloes a local origin.
Whatever the circumstances of their arrival in Italy and their expansion (whose remarkable impulse was due to the extension of swamp areas, their favorite environment) might have been, buffalo breeding is now one of the country’s excellences, also thanks to the enormous attention given to protection of the species. The production of protected origin buffalo mozzarella attends precise requirements, which also obtained recognition within the EU.
Today, production areas include Campania (the provinces of Caserta and Salerno, and part of the provinces of Benevento and Naples); Lazio (part of the provinces of Frosinone, Latina and Rome); Puglia (the Gargano area and part of the province of Foggia); and Molise (part of the province of Isernia).
Buffalo milk mozzarella can stay fresh up to 4 days outside the fridge, in fact, one should never keep it in fridge, because the molecular structure changes, and the cheese becomes rubbery. The handmade mozzarella should have a little “nipple” on it, it’s a sign that the mozza balls were separated by hand. Another sign of great, handmade cheese is that the center must be moist and juicy, and milk almost squirting out when you cut into it. When you buy it and bring it home, keep it in its brine , do not put it in fridge, but keep it in shade.